If Omar Siddeque Mateen turns out to have been wrestling with his own homosexuality, the gay rights movement in America may very well mourn him as "one of our own" and blame the entire massacre on "homophobia."
Monday, as I surfed gay websites and gay voices on Facebook, I found no mention of the role that Islam plays in homophobia; no mention of radical Islamic terrorism; no mention of the fact that a war has been declared against Western freedoms.
People wrote about "hate" and the importance of "love" triumphing over "hate." People deplored "homophobia" as a "hate crime." Some blamed the massacre on the availability of "guns." One woman insisted that "right wing Christians" are more dangerous, more "homophobic," and have killed more people when they attacked abortion clinics than Mateen did in Orlando.
When challenged--by no lesser a man than my colleague, author and gay rights activist, Bruce Bawer, his opponent insisted that "misogyny" and "homophobia" must be called out no matter where it exists--and it exists everywhere, among all religions. No one religion should be singled out.
Tragically, gay communities, along with political correctniks everywhere, do not understand that homosexuality is banned within Islam and is punishable by death--but that male homosexuality is nevertheless rampant throughout the Muslim world. Married fathers have male sexual partners. Many Taliban leaders are pedophiles and keep young boys as sexual slaves. A 2010 documentary exposed this: "The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan."
More recently, American Marines could no longer bear to hear the cries of a young boy, chained to a Taliban commander's bed, being raped nightly. They intervened. They rescued the boy and beat up his rapist. No, they received no medals for doing so. Two Green Berets were reprimanded. Captain Dan Quinn was relieved of his post, pulled from Afghanistan. He left the military. First Class Charles Martland joined Quinn in beating up the rapist. The Army has been trying to force him out as well. A third man, Lance Corporal Gregory Buckley Jr. also complained about the rape of boys and girls by the Taliban with whom he was quartered. One of the child sex slaves, a "tea boy," shot Buckley to death. Buckley's dad believes that the boy had been ordered to shoot him.
The Army's position is no different from what I ran into when I was held captive in Kabul so long ago. Back then, the American Embassy, like the American Army today, believed that America was a guest in someone else's country and that our job is not to criticize local customs.
On Monday night, my dear friend Ibn Warraq came to call. He is working on a book about Islam and why it is totally incompatible with democracy. Individual Muslims may be secular and moderate; individual Muslims may not practice (or even know) what Islam commands them to do. Individual Muslims may wish to reform Islam--but paradoxically, in the name of Islam.
"But the Islam that ISIS and the Orlando shooter are following is the real Islam. Of course, there are passages which one can take out of context to prove that Islam tells us to be kind to strangers--but not if they are infidels, definitely not if they are homosexuals. Then, Muslims are commanded to kill them."
In Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, Ayaan Hirsi Ali refers to "Islam's Jihad against homosexuality." Orlando is a "hideous reminder" that "homophobia is an integral part of Islamic extremism....(such homophobia) is institutionalized." Laws exist which "criminalize and punish homosexuals in line with Islamic law;" the attitudes of most Muslims in Muslim countries are "homophobic" and they bring this prejudice with them when they immigrate to the West; and finally, the "rise of modern Islamic extremism has worsened the intolerance towards homosexuality."
But what can we say when a Muslim Jihadist is ambivalent about his own homosexual longings? When his father is, ostensibly, strongly opposed to homosexuality? Do we blame his murderous massacre on self-hate, the frustration of being "closeted," on "homophobia" writ large?
Or do we begin to understand that Jihad is the approved and all-purpose solution (as has been suggested) to poverty, severe and normalized child abuse, unemployment, heterosexual frustration, homosexual frustration, an abiding sense of "shame," etc.
Perhaps--but these conditions exist in non-Muslim cultures and do not lead to Jihad against infidels.
Bottom line: The terrorists’ motives don't really matter if they are shooting at us. They must be stopped.
Dr. Phyllis Chesler is a fellow at the Middle East Forum and Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies. She is the author of 4 studies about honor killings and 16 books.